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Thread: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

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    Default Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Check out this article written by The Virginian-Pilot. Realignment may be a reality for both conferences.

    It's inevitable: Conference USA as we know it is going to change


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    Cajunsmike is offline Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Greatest Fan Ever
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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonCajun View Post
    Check out this article written by The Virginian-Pilot. Realignment may be a reality for both conferences.

    It's inevitable: Conference USA as we know it is going to change
    I don't see the link to the article.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonCajun View Post
    Check out this article written by The Virginian-Pilot. Realignment may be a reality for both conferences.

    It's inevitable: Conference USA as we know it is going to change

    I couldn't copy and paste the link, so here is the article suggesting a realignment of both conferences along geographical lines, something I have recommended for some time. Here is an example of what realignment could look like and is certainly open to debate as to teams and divisional alignment.

    Sun Belt - Western based conference

    UTEP, NMSU, UTSA, TX State, Rice, N. Texas
    Louisiana, Ark State, LA Tech, S. Miss, USA, Troy

    CUSA - Eastern based conference

    Marshall, ODU, Charlotte, App State, WKU, MTSU,
    GA State, GA Southern, UAB, Coastal Carolina, FIU, FAU

    UTA and Little Rock find another home as this is an All Sports Conference. ULM is the odd man out.


    There are big changes coming to Conference USA and most of the rest of the Group of Five, as the mid-major Football Bowl Subdivision leagues are known, that many league officials are understandably hesitant to embrace.

    College athletic administrators already have been through the ringer. Beginning about five years ago, a chain reaction of conference realignment began that ended with 80 schools changing leagues. Few were hit harder than Conference USA, which lost seven schools to the American Athletic Conference.

    But like it or not, more change is coming. When your expenses are rising and revenue is falling, simple economics demand that you become leaner and more efficient. And that's the situation facing C-USA.

    "Conference USA's current financial model is unsustainable," said an athletic director who asked not to be named.

    I'm not picking on C-USA, which is a pretty good football league. The problem here isn't on-the-field performance. It's the bottom line.

    C-USA's TV revenue cratered from $1.1 million per school in 2015-16 to $200,000 this year. Costs have also risen, in part because the NCAA adopted new policies such as paying stipends to athletes for costs not covered in scholarships. Paying the so-called full cost of attendance has cost ODU $600,000 this year.

    The elite Power 5 conferences, including the ACC and SEC, continue to be fat and happy. The ACC shared $26.2 million per school in TV and other revenue last season, and thus can afford the travel costs that come from a footprint extending from Miami to Syracuse.

    The far-flung C-USA is another matter. The league's 14 schools are scattered from the Texas-New Mexico border to the Atlantic Ocean, and the league has far fewer resources. Old Dominion received $3.4 million in TV, NCAA and C-USA revenue in 2015-16, and that number likely will drop by $1 million in the current fiscal year.

    Several C-USA athletic officials I called would not speak on the record, but Middle Tennessee 's Chris Massaro did. And his take, while diplomatic, was pragmatic.

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    Chris Massaro
    Middle Tennessee State athletic director Chris Massaro said that realignment, including perhaps a merger, "is inevitable" for mid-major football leagues like Conference USA and the Sun Belt.

    Courtesy of Middle Tennessee State
    "It's inevitable that there's going to be some kind of consolidation among the Group of Five," he said. "I don't think we're there yet, but eventually we will be."

    How do you fix things? Patrick Magee of the Sun Herald newspaper in Biloxi, Miss., proposed a radical solution last summer: C-USA and the Sun Belt should realign along regional lines into two new leagues, or one new giant league.

    James Madison is among the FCS schools he proposed be a part of that realignment.

    A merger wouldn't have made sense a year ago, because C-USA made so much more TV money than the Sun Belt. Now that TV revenue is roughly equivalent, Magee's proposal should be embraced by both leagues., as it has been by other media outlets, including sportsbusinessdaily.com

    I would tweak his proposal a bit, adding Liberty University, which joins FBS in 2018. Regardless, dividing the two leagues along regional lines is too smart not to warrant serious discussion.

    ODU President John Broderick is not in favor of a merger, but agrees it needs to be considered.


    "Anything that would help our student-athletes and is more responsive to budgetary concerns deserves a look," he said.

    A merger would enhance rivalries, which are usually borne of geographic proximity. As entertaining as ODU football games were against Texas-San Antonio the last two seasons, there's no rivalry there. ODU is a better fit with Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Georgia Southern and JMU than C-USA's four Texas schools.

    I love Texas and enjoyed the football team's four trips to the Lone Star state the last three seasons. But it's ludicrous for mid-major schools from Virginia and Texas to play in the same league.

    The ODU women's soccer team spent the last 10 days of last season playing at North Texas, Rice, Western Kentucky and Florida International. That's great for racking up frequent flyer points, not so good if, like most C-USA schools, you're trying to control travel budgets. And think of all of the missed class time.

    ODU spent $3.7 million on travel, nearly 10 percent of its $44 million athletic budget, in 2015-2016. Three years earlier, in ODU's last season in the Colonial Athletic Association, travel cost $2.2 million.

    Merging would not be easy. It would require presidents, athletic directors and coaches to set their egos aside. Five C-USA schools paid a lot of money to leave the Sun Belt, and likely would balk at being realigned back with their former brethren.

    You'd need cooperation from the NCAA, as current rules could cause both leagues to lose automatic bids to NCAA tournaments for five years. There would also be bowl game affiliations and TV contracts to renegotiate.

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    se hmodu063013 1
    Buy Now
    John R. Broderick, president of Old Dominion University, photographed at Foreman Field on the ODU campus in Norfolk on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

    Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot
    Broderick has proposed some less radical yet creative changes that might be easier for C-USA officials to swallow. He suggested that football and basketball continue as usual in FBS leagues, but that so-called Olympic sports (baseball, tennis, soccer, etc.) be realigned into regional leagues.

    Massaro said that makes a lot of sense.

    "I don't know that Memphis would feel compelled to play women's soccer at UConn when they could play at Middle Tennessee," he said. "I think that idea could gain some momentum."

    Broderick urged last year that C-USA men's and women's basketball schedules be reduced from 18 games to 16 to reduce travel costs. He's also suggested focusing travel, outside of football, to division rivals. Neither has been embraced by the league.

    To her credit, C-USA commissioner Judy MacLeod mentioned media reports about merger proposals during a league meeting late last year.

    If you think realignment is needed, let's talk about it, she said. She did so even though a consolidation might threaten jobs in the league office.

    Officials didn't talk about it then, but they should when the reassemble in late May for spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

    It's time for officials to roll up their sleeves and figure out how to fix a financial model that is broken.

    Harry Minium, 757-446-2371, harry.minium@pilotonline.com Twitter: @Harry_MiniumVP

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment


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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    The SBC has added exclusively eastern teams since CUSA raided them.


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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by California Cajun View Post
    The SBC has added exclusively eastern teams since CUSA raided them.
    There are a total of 10 schools West of the Mississippi that are in either league (not counting UTA and Little Rock) - UTEP, NMSU, UTSA, TX State, Rice, N. Texas, Louisiana, LA Tech, Ark State, and ULM. The other 15 schools are all East of the Mississippi.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    I've said this many times before.

    The way this gets done without any help from the NCAA in terms of suspension of rules is by the group of UTEP/UTSA/UNT/Rice/Tech/USM/UAB announcing this Summer that they are leaving CUSA to start a new league effective for the 2018/2019 season.

    They will extend invites to NMSU, Texas State, Arkansas State, Louisiana and South Alabama.

    The remaining CUSA schools will add James Madison and 4 of the SBC schools left.

    2 SBC schools will be left out. Probably ULM and either Troy or Georgia State.


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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    It would not surprise me to see a real hard push for government intervention as well. It is getting more and more difficult for the P5 to continue and claim their tax exempt status while making certain that some are left out in the cold. Not sure that it is a battle that would be one but from a strict numbers perspective there is a lot more of this nation represented by the have nots (G5 and smaller) than the haves.

    It has been threatened on numerous occasions in the past and we might be getting close to the tipping point.


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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajun90 View Post
    It would not surprise me to see a real hard push for government intervention as well. It is getting more and more difficult for the P5 to continue and claim their tax exempt status while making certain that some are left out in the cold. Not sure that it is a battle that would be one but from a strict numbers perspective there is a lot more of this nation represented by the have nots (G5 and smaller) than the haves.

    It has been threatened on numerous occasions in the past and we might be getting close to the tipping point.

    Why should the sbc help cusa which is what this is all about? Cusa chose the wrong schools, now they want a redo! Think we should keep inviting and offering the cusa schools we want until they accept.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajunologist View Post
    Why should the sbc help cusa which is what this is all about? Cusa chose the wrong schools, now they want a redo! Think we should keep inviting and offering the cusa schools we want until they accept.
    Because we need to get rid of the eastern schools and make this a more regional conference. Instead of GA State, GA Southern, App State and Coastal Carolina, we get UTEP, UTSA, Rice, S. Miss, N. Texas and LA Tech, plus NMSU returns as a travel partner for UTEP. The SBC has 10 schools, loses 4 and adds 6. CUSA has 14 schools, loses 6 and adds 4.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by CajunNation View Post
    I've said this many times before.

    The way this gets done without any help from the NCAA in terms of suspension of rules is by the group of UTEP/UTSA/UNT/Rice/Tech/USM/UAB announcing this Summer that they are leaving CUSA to start a new league effective for the 2018/2019 season.

    They will extend invites to NMSU, Texas State, Arkansas State, Louisiana and South Alabama.

    The remaining CUSA schools will add James Madison and 4 of the SBC schools left.

    2 SBC schools will be left out. Probably ULM and either Troy or Georgia State.
    If you start a brand new conference, you will lose automatic bids for X number of years, important for all sports except football. Why not keep both conferences and move teams around for better geographic fits? Then, perhaps we can change the name of the conference and get rid of the Sun Belt name stench.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonCajun View Post
    Because we need to get rid of the eastern schools and make this a more regional conference. Instead of GA State, GA Southern, App State and Coastal Carolina, we get UTEP, UTSA, Rice, S. Miss, N. Texas and LA Tech, plus NMSU returns as a travel partner for UTEP. The SBC has 10 schools, loses 4 and adds 6. CUSA has 14 schools, loses 6 and adds 4.
    No SBC or CUSA school has the travel money to flush down the toilet for conference games against outlying teams.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonCajun View Post
    If you start a brand new conference, you will lose automatic bids for X number of years, important for all sports except football. Why not keep both conferences and move teams around for better geographic fits? Then, perhaps we can change the name of the conference and get rid of the Sun Belt name stench.

    NCAA has rule which states that you need at least 6 schools that have been together for at least 5 years to retain an autobid for the new conference. As of the completion of the 2017/2018 athletic year, the western CUSA schools will qualify.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonCajun View Post
    Because we need to get rid of the eastern schools and make this a more regional conference. Instead of GA State, GA Southern, App State and Coastal Carolina, we get UTEP, UTSA, Rice, S. Miss, N. Texas and LA Tech, plus NMSU returns as a travel partner for UTEP. The SBC has 10 schools, loses 4 and adds 6. CUSA has 14 schools, loses 6 and adds 4.
    If its agreed 1 conference gets those schools (UTEP, UTSA, Rice, S. Miss, N. Texas and LA Tech) and we are in it, I'm all for it. I don't know how the other conference would agree to that though. Those are cusa's best schools minus tech of course

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajunologist View Post
    If its agreed 1 conference gets those schools (UTEP, UTSA, Rice, S. Miss, N. Texas and LA Tech) and we are in it, I'm all for it. I don't know how the other conference would agree to that though. Those are cusa's best schools minus tech of course
    According to the article, TV revenue for CUSA and SBC are both at $200,000 per school (CUSA is down from $1.1M) with Cost of Attendance another $600,000. CUSA teams cannot afford to operate with that much of a deficit. Trips to Texas and other areas for east coast teams are becoming cost prohibitive. CUSA is considering a regional based conference and doesn't appear too concerned about losing those teams. The western based schools in CUSA similarly can't afford all the trips to the east coast with low attendance and no developed rivalries because fans can't/won't travel those distances. Something has to give. Besides, if you are a G5 conference, does it really matter? Geography will win out of Strength of Conference to seriously curtail expenses. The MAC and MWC are nice geographic conferences. CUSA and the SBC will need to do the same to survive.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    I think the declining popularity of football, the concussion activists war on football, lack of big picture relevance for small schools, and over saturation of football is adding to those numbers.

    Football is the "dot com" of the 2000's. The blue bloods will absorb all of the schools orbiting around them and the fledglings will eventually collapse or settle in some kind of acceptable irrelevant state of being.


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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajun90 View Post
    It would not surprise me to see a real hard push for government intervention as well. It is getting more and more difficult for the P5 to continue and claim their tax exempt status while making certain that some are left out in the cold. Not sure that it is a battle that would be one but from a strict numbers perspective there is a lot more of this nation represented by the have nots (G5 and smaller) than the haves.

    It has been threatened on numerous occasions in the past and we might be getting close to the tipping point.
    I have researched and written extensively on tax-exemption and college athletics. Odds of tax exemption being pulled from college athletics = less than 1 %. Under the current Internal Revenue Code, there is no basis. Would take convincing legislators to pull status, which would be one hell of a show when these major colleges start lobbying against any tax.

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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by CajunNation View Post
    NCAA has rule which states that you need at least 6 schools that have been together for at least 5 years to retain an autobid for the new conference. As of the completion of the 2017/2018 athletic year, the western CUSA schools will qualify.
    The NCAA also has the ability to change the rule if they chose to do so. They have changed rules many times to help the P5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duggie35 View Post
    The NCAA also has the ability to change the rule if they chose to do so. They have changed rules many times to help the P5.
    Yep. The only thing more powerful than P5 football blue bloods is Big Pharma and the MLBPA. Others need not apply.

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    Cajunsmike is offline Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Greatest Fan Ever
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    Default Re: Sun Belt Conference; CUSA - Conference Realignment

    Quote Originally Posted by ManAboutTown View Post
    I think the declining popularity of football, the concussion activists war on football, lack of big picture relevance for small schools, and over saturation of football is adding to those numbers.

    Football is the "dot com" of the 2000's. The blue bloods will absorb all of the schools orbiting around them and the fledglings will eventually collapse or settle in some kind of acceptable irrelevant state of being.
    Key comment in this post is "lack of big picture relevance for small schools". If you are not in a P5 league, attention is minimal. That is from the national media and statewide as well. If you did not attend a g5 school, no one really cares how your team is doing. That includes most schools in the AAC and MWC. As far as the national press is concerned, East Carolina, UL, and Colorado State are in the same boat. That is making it very difficult for the average fan to pay attention to those schools. Many will stay home and watch the big schools on TV play (even if it is not LSU) vs coming to Cajun Field. At least in basketball, the conference tournaments and the first few days of the NCAA tournament provide a little coverage to mid-majors. The only salvation I see for the G5 is for a 16 team playoff to develop with every conference champion getting an automatic bid. That is not realistic. Best hope is for an 8 team playoff with the highest rated G5 school getting a bid.

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